Drop in water level kills 25 tonnes of fish in Tonle Chhmar lake

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The dead fish. Koh Santepheap

More than 25 tonnes of fish have died since Saturday in Kampong Thom province’s Stoung district following a drop in Tonle Chhmar lake’s water level.

Huon Phal, fishery administration chief in the district’s Peam Bang commune, yesterday said that the fish in the lake died due to a lack of oxygen.

“Fish have died because of the severe hot weather which caused the water level in the lake to drop, leading to a lack of oxygen,” he said.

He noted that this year the number of fish which have died is lower than in previous years because the authorities had planted water hyacinths to shelter fish from the sun.

“Now, the water levels in the lake is between 0.1 meters and 0.5 meters and people are worried that the entire fish population may perish,” he said.

Pen Vannarith, provincial fishery administration chief, yesterday said more than 25 tonnes of fish died since Saturday because of the low water levels.

“In 2015 and 2016, many fish also died for the same reason, during the same period,” he said, noting that in 2017 and last year, there were no deaths because the water levels were much higher.

Mr Vannarith noted that in 2015 almost 70 tonnes of fish died and that more than 90 tonnes perished in 2016.

He said that many people in the district went to collect the dead fish from the lake for consumption.

Mr Vannarith said that his administration plans to deepen the lake and pump more water into it to raise the water level.

He noted that they will also plant more water hyacinths in it.

“We plan to deepen the lake and pump in more water because it is a protected area for marine life,” Mr Vannarith said, adding that during the rainy season, Tonle Chhmar can cover about eight hectares.

Chhin Laun, a villager in the commune, yesterday said that he went to the lake during the weekend after hearing news that several fish had died there.

“Many people had gone there to collect dead fish and I collected between 500 and 600 kilograms,” he said. “I will use the fish to make fish paste and dried fish.”

Neth Sary, district governor, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Last year, more than 12 tonnes of fish in Kampong Chhnang province’s Kampong Chhnang city died due to the hot weather and a lack of oxygen.

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